Nature Conservancy tops off 50th anniversary celebration
With congratulations ranging from the Governor of the State of Indiana, Mitch Daniels, to Indianapolis Mayor Gregory Ballard, and Helio Castroneves, the crowd heard from several long-time supporters and staff of the Conservancy. The “nature” in Nature Conservancy was evident from the blowing tent sides, vibrating tent supports, and slap of rain on the tent roof. But supporters were undeterred and enjoyed a special presentation on international conservation work by The Nature Conservancy’s lead scientist, Dr. M. Sanjayan.
The celebration included a reception in the new Efroymson Conservation Center, the Conservancy’s sustainably built Indiana headquarters office. Before dinner, attendees explored the most sustainable building in Indianapolis. The Conservancy is applying for certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program at the highest level, Platinum. The Conservancy anticipates hearing about its certification request in 9 to 12 months.
During the program, the Conservancy announced two new gifts to support the building. Randy Deer (who also donated a painting he created for the Conservancy’s new office) and Wayne Zink have made a pledge of $1 million for the building. “We are pleased to be part of this great project that will help create a climate of sustainability for Indianapolis – both in its built environment through buildings such as that of The Nature Conservancy, and through our on-going support of conservation of natural areas here and abroad,” said Randy Deer. Wayne Zink added that “my support of the Conservancy, through my role as a Trustee and as a financial supporter is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had. It fits both my personal values and our corporate mission.” Zink is the President and CEO of Endangered Species Chocolate Company, which was one of the sponsors of the evening’s events.
The second gift was made by the children of Fred Meyer, one of the founders of The Nature Conservancy’s Indiana Chapter and a driving force for conservation in the 1960s and 1970s. The Meyer children’s gift of $600,000 enabled them to name the Conservancy’s board room after their parents, Frederick and Dorothy Meyer.
The two major gifts bring fundraising for the building to almost $6.7 million or about 84% of the goal of $8 million. “We continue to seek support for the Efroymson Conservation Center and hope to engage those interested in creating a sustainable future and continued conservation success to help us finish our fundraising efforts,” said Brett McKamey, President and COO of Goelzer Investment Management, who is a Trustee of the Indiana Chapter and Chair of its fundraising campaign. Goelzer also was a sponsor of the 50th anniversary celebrations.
The Conservancy was formed in 1959 by 37 Hoosiers who believed in the preservation of our natural world and were determined to save 600 acres that became known as Pine Hills Nature Preserve, along Sugar Creek in Montgomery County. Fueled by a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc., the group succeeded in protecting this spectacular site with its meandering creeks, steep backbone ridges of carved limestone and sandstone, and glorious forest. Pine Hills became the first dedicated state nature preserve in Indiana under legislation created in the late 1960s, which has since protected 231 nature preserves across our state. The Nature Conservancy has played a significant role in protecting at least 108 of those natural areas.
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